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Water sample? Make it a double

Two towns ship water samples to state showdown

Attendees of Albany's Alive at Five concert series sample Capital District water and vote on which municipalities will be headed to the state contest.

Attendees of Albany's Alive at Five concert series sample Capital District water and vote on which municipalities will be headed to the state contest.

— Two local municipalities are hoping to make a statewide splash as their water samples head to the New York State Fair to participate in the state’s Best-Tasting Drinking Water Contest.

Water from both Guilderland and Niskayuna tied in points when Alive at Five concert attendees in Albany were asked to taste samples from five local drinking supplies and vote on the best one. The contest is sponsored by the state Department of Health and the state Environmental Facilities Corp.

“It’s funny to see how some people do take it very seriously,” said Jon Sorensen, a spokesman for the NYS EFC. “Some swish it around like wine and are quite enthusiastic.”

The water samples had already been judged at the county level, and the Alive at Five contest served as the regional finals.

In the Albany County competition, Guilderland scored 63 points and the Latham Water District finished second with 41 points at a contest held at the Harold L. Joyce County Office Building in Albany on Tuesday, June 26. At Schenectady City Hall two days later, Niskayuna captured first place with 42 points, squeezing past Schenectady with 39 points.

Other waters entered in the regional competition at the Corning Preserve during the concert on Thursday, Aug. 2, included samples from Clifton Park, the City of Amsterdam and the Village of Nassau.

“None of the samples are labeled to prevent bias,” said Sorensen.

Not every county in the state participates in the contest at the state level. This year, only 10 municipalities will be vying for the title of “Best-Tasting Drinking Water” at the 26th annual State Fair competition.

Last year, New Rochelle took the top prize, with the Village of Baldwinsville in Western New York taking second.

“We are very proud and honored that our water was selected as the Best-Tasting Drinking Water in the region,” said Town of Niskayuna Supervisor Joe Landry in a statement. “This honor is a reflection of all the hard work by our employees in the Water Department, especially those at our water plant.”

Sorensen said there is no official prize to be won, but water department employees take pride in the title, as do residents from the winning community. The state sponsors the annual contest to promote the efforts of EFC, DOH and municipal water suppliers to “protect and provide clean, safe drinking water in New York.”

The winner of the contest will be announced on Thursday, Aug. 30.

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